NBA: Best bets and analysis for Monday, March 4th

Jonathan Von Tobel (95-77-2 | Units: +12.6) gives his daily NBA best bets and analysis for Monday, March 4th.

Feb 10, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (13) drives past Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) in the second half at Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to my daily column of NBA best bets! Here at VSiN we have a ton of NBA content daily, so make sure to keep tabs on Zach Cohen who is doing an excellent job handicapping the league on a daily basis.

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NBA Best Bets

Record: 95-77-2 | Units: +12.6 | ROI: 6.7%

*Los Angeles Clippers at Milwaukee Bucks (-5, 229)

Los Angeles got a massive win in Minnesota last night, but now it plays on no rest in Milwaukee. On the surface, this number is too large. There is a risk in playing this game early, but the Clippers’ role players have played through more of these no rest situations than given credit for. 

Yes, Milwaukee is 5-0 SU/4-0-1 ATS since the All-Star break, but it has hardly been tested. Giannis Antetokounmpo is also questionable with an Achilles injury. That seems like something that should be factored a bit more into this line.

In January, Los Angeles went to Boston on no rest and wiped the floor with the Celtics. The Clippers have had players in and out of the lineup in recent weeks, a fact that has been ignored by those reveling in this team’s recent shaky play. It’s a risk taking Los Angeles at this point without an injury report, but its a risk I am willing to take, as this number has value in it by my measure.

Best Bet: Clippers (+5.5) – Playable to (+4)

Washington Wizards at Utah Jazz (-6.5, 240)

Utah grabbed a cover in Miami on Saturday, but it is still in the midst of a 3-11 SU/4-10 ATS slide. Over the course of those 14 games the Jazz are last in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (124.5) by a wide margin. Fading Utah during this slide has been a regular occurrence during this stretch, and it will continue tonight.

Washington might be sliding – 0-14 SU/6-8 ATS in its last 14 games – but this number is too large for a short-handed team. Walker Kessler and Lauri Markkanen will not play due to injury tonight. The Jazz have already turned to rookies Keyonte George, Taylor Hendricks and Brice Sensabaugh to play larger roles. Without Kessler and Markkanen we can expect a larger load from Sensabaugh and perhaps Omer Yurtseven. It’s not a group worth asking to win by margin.

The market seems to be in agreement with me here. Playing against Utah has been a consistent strategy for the last few weeks. I have had enough success with it that the strategy will continue to be part of the process until it turns.

Best Bet: Wizards (+6) – Playable to (+5)

*Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers (-1, 240.5)

It might seem like the obvious play, but when there is point spread value I cannot turn it down. Oklahoma City is playing on no rest, but they are a much better team from a power rating standpoint than what this number indicates. There is more than just a 1.5-point difference between these two teams on a neutral.

The Thunder have not submitted an injury report yet, but there should be little danger of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missing this game. He has played in every game but one this season, and has never sat out for rest on a back-to-back. Oklahoma City is also 7-3 SU and ATS with no rest this season. Los Angeles lacks a true defender for Gilgeous-Alexander, and the team has allowed 121.7 points per 100 possessions of non-garbage time since the All-Star break.

Best Bet: Thunder (+1) – Playable to (-1.5)

NBA Best Bets

Clippers (+5.5)

Wizards (+6)

Thunder (+1)

Remaining Games

Memphis Grizzlies at Brooklyn Nets (-7.5, 211)

Brooklyn swept Atlanta in a two-game series at home over the weekend, but it is hard to buy into some sort of turnaround for the Nets. Brooklyn shot a combined 37-of-77 (48.1%) from beyond the arc in non-garbage time of the two victories. They shot 56.3% on uncontested looks. Those are obviously unsustainable figures, but Memphis might not be the team to test the theory with. Jaren Jackson Jr. is doubtful with a quad injury, and the Grizzlies have lost five straight. The line is up to 9.5 due to Jackson’s status and it will likely close higher should he officially be ruled out.

Portland Trail Blazers at *Minnesota Timberwolves (-14, 213)

Minnesota has hit the skids since returning from the All-Star break. It lost last night to Los Angeles to fall to 3-3 SU/1-5 ATS in its last six games. It has failed to cover four straight. This spot against Portland seems like a “get-right” spot, but this team is clearly at the peak of its market rating. As of now, we also have no idea if the Timberwolves will be resting anyone, as they are playing on no rest. Still, the Trail Blazers will likely be thin tonight. DeAndre Ayton and Matisse Thybulle are questionable, and Jerami Grant is doubtful. Malcolm Brogdon and Shaedon Sharpe remain out as well. 

Chicago Bulls at Sacramento Kings (-6, 228)

Since the All-Star break the Sacramento Kings have been among the worst defensive teams in the league. Opponents have averaged 121.7 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, and they have been outscored by 2.6 points in those possessions. They are now laying 6.5 at home to a similarly rated opponent in Chicago. Alex Caruso is questionable to play, and that is the only thing keeping me off of the Bulls here. If Caruso is out there the Bulls have an option for De’Aaron Fox and they should be very live on the road.